NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson is on the entry list for Kentucky

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is on the entry list for this Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

After missing this past Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to testing positive for COVID-19, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is back on the entry list for this Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

This does not guarantee that Johnson will drive the #48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in this 267-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Sparta, Kentucky, however.

Should Johnson be able to compete in this race, the #48 Chevrolet would not have to drop to the rear of the field for the start. But if he needs to be replaced, his replacement would have to drop to the rear due to the driver change. Likewise, putting another driver on the entry list instead of Johnson would then require Johnson to drop to the rear if he were to be able to compete.

In order to return behind the wheel of the #48 Chevrolet, the 44-year-old El Cajon, California native still must test negative for COVID-19 twice, and those two negative tests must not come within 24 hours of one another. He must also be given clearance to compete by his physician.

Johnson’s missed start in this past Sunday’s race was his first missed start since he became a full-time Cup Series driver in 2002. He had competed in 663 consecutive races up until this past weekend, which was the longest active streak at NASCAR’s highest level.

It was JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Justin Allgaier who replaced Johnson in this race. Allgaier is the designated reserve driver for Hendrick Motorsports, and team owner Rick Hendrick co-owns JR Motorsports. Allgaier finished in 37th place after being involved in an early pileup in the pits.

The Xfinity Series is set to race a doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway, with one race tomorrow evening and another on Friday, so Allgaier is set to be on hand if his services are needed again should Johnson not be cleared to return.

Entering this past Sunday’s race, Johnson sat in 12th place in the championship standings, 63 points above the playoff cut line. He was granted a playoff waiver after it was announced that he would not be able to compete in it. Following the race, he still sits 36 points above the cut line in 15th.

Johnson remains asymptomatic despite testing positive for COVID-19.

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The Quaker State 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Kentucky Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, July 12.